Funding for Pure Michigan to Drop over 80% Unless Legislature Acts Soon

Jan 27, 2010, 11:18 ET from Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association

LANSING, Mich., Jan. 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- If the Legislature does not act, Michigan's overall tourism budget would drop from 6th to 42nd highest nationwide according to a survey conducted by the U.S. Travel Association.  The tourism promotion budget which stood at $30 million and enabled the Pure Michigan campaign to air nationwide and year-round last year was reduced to just $5.4 million for the fiscal year which began on October 1st.

"These figures speak for themselves," said Steve Yencich, President/CEO Michigan Lodging & Tourism Association.  "Beginning in 2007, the Pure Michigan campaign was expanded into entirely new markets and last year represented the first-ever national campaign.  The reality is, a $5.4 million budget means no national ad campaign and a forced retreat back to just a handful of regional markets."

Legislation (HB 5018, HB 5088, and HB 5089) is pending in the Senate which provides a long term funding mechanism, but will take time to reach levels necessary to fund a national campaign.  Analysts believe the House legislation will fail to raise sufficient funds to allow Pure Michigan to maintain a national presence for the 2010 season.

"An eighty percent loss in funding will force tourism to become overly reliant on the Michigan resident base for economic outcomes," said Yencich.  "Unfortunately on the heels of the bankruptcies of GM and Chrysler, that base can no longer perform as it has in the past, when Michigan residents generated 70% of total tourism outcomes."      

Yencich said failure to fund Pure Michigan will lead to lower tax revenues, higher unemployment and a deepening of Michigan's already severe recession.  He said legislators need to look at which segment of Michigan's economy is best able to spark both short and long term growth in a struggling economy.

Tourism officials expressed a willingness to look at all alternatives in an effort to secure short and long-term funding for Pure Michigan.  "Things automatically happen if we assign them a high enough priority," Yencich said.  "If Michigan's third largest industry is a priority, all it will take is creativity, commitment and leadership in Lansing."  

Based in Lansing, the Michigan Lodging & Tourism Association is a 104-year-old trade association that educates, markets, and advocates on behalf of Michigan's lodging and tourism industries.

SOURCE Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association